Does your dog love going on walks and playing in the yard? If so, a visit to the dog park could be a fantastic treat for your pup. The dog park allows your dog to go off-leash, run around, and socialize with other dogs. If you’re thinking about taking your puppy or dog to the dog park, follow these tips to make sure he or she has a tail-wagging time.
Benefits of the Dog Park
If you’re fortunate enough to live near a dog park, consider yourself and your dog lucky. Visiting the dog park has many benefits. Two of the biggest, are socialization and exercise.
Socialization is extremely important for a dog’s behavior and development. According to pet trainer, Michelle Mullins, “Socialization is introducing a dog to novel environments, experiences, objects and others (be it dogs, men, women, and children) and making the introductions enjoyable and as stress-free as possible so the dog develops good associations” (Mullins). While the dog park shouldn’t be the first place you go to socialize your dog, it is a great way to get them out of the house and maintain their well-being. Another way to maintain and improve their well-being is through exercise.
If you have a high-energy dog that loves to run and play, the dog park is a great place for him or her to let loose. Your dog can run off-leash, play with you, or play with other dogs to burn off some energy and keep healthy. Not only can you see your dog having fun, but you know you are helping them meet their exercise needs as well.
Taking a Puppy to the Dog Park
When it comes to taking a puppy to the dog park, there are a few things you need to consider. For one, how old is your puppy? In general, you should wait until your puppy is at least 6 months old to take him or her to the dog park (Gardner). Puppies can be very irritating to more mature dogs. In order to prevent your puppy from being a nuisance to other dogs at the park, you should make sure he or she is socialized beforehand. You can do this by taking them on walks, introducing them to new people, and enrolling them in obedience classes (Kasinger).
Obedience is a really important factor you should consider before taking your puppy to the dog park. If your puppy is a bad listener and doesn’t obey your commands, it may be hard to control him or her at the dog park. Before visiting the dog park, you should practice simple commands with him or her. You should then try repeating this once you get to the park. If you know you have a hyper puppy on your hands, it is a good idea to take him or her on a 10 to 15 minute walk before the dog park (Bennett). This will help alleviate any pent up energy he or she may have, making the dog park experience a lot less rambunctious.
Things to Consider When Going to the Dog Park
The major thing to consider when taking your dog to the dog park is whether he or she plays well with others. While your dog may be friendly with humans, he or she may not be friendly with other dogs. In addition to taking your own dog’s demeanor into consideration, you should also pay attention to the other dogs’ behavior within the park.
According to Amanda Gardner, “Dogs at play have relaxed ears, wagging tails, and may “play bow” with their front end down to the ground” (Gardner). Dogs that want to fight will be tense. They will typically snarl and curl their lips back. While your dog may be great with other dogs, it is always a good idea to be aware of his or her surroundings.
Lastly, if you have a female dog that hasn’t been spayed and is in heat, you should avoid the dog park completely.
While some forethought goes into taking your dog to the dog park, it is well worth the trip. There is no better feeling than seeing your dog running free and having fun.
Bennett, Jacqueline. “11 Expert Tips to Get the Most Out of the Dog Park.” The Dog People by Rover.com, 29 May 2018, www.rover.com/blog/expert-dog-park-tips-in/.
Gardner, Amanda. “Dog Park Etiquette: 7 Rules for a Well-Behaved Pet.” WebMD, WebMD, https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/features/dog-park-etiquette#2.
Kasinger, Chona. “8 Tips to Socialize Your Dog (with Other Dogs & Humans).” The Dog People by Rover.com, 29 May 2018, www.rover.com/blog/how-to-socialize-dog/.
Mullins, Michelle. “How to Socialize for the Dog Park.” How to Socialize for the Dog Park | PetSafe® Articles, www.petsafe.net/learn/how-to-socialize-for-the-dog-park.